Was: URGENT: MergGoogle no longer works on iOS: CLIENTS VERY UNHAPPY

Sean Cole (Pi) sean at pidigital.co.uk
Fri May 25 12:07:00 EDT 2018

Dear All

This is going to be a long one so I’ll break it down into sections to make
it easier to read and get the points across (hopefully).

// Thanks //
First off, a great deal of thanks has to go out to everyone who contacted
both during and after the incident on May 2nd. It is overwhelming to see
the attempts of support offered over the last couple of weeks. Thank you,
each one of you.

// GoFundMe //
This, too, is overwhelming. A little disturbing too as it was embarked on
by people who know very little about me or the facts behind the situation.
Indeed, some of those provided here and on the GFM site were distorted from
the truth of the matter. I would never have asked for this or expected
it... but the generosity demonstrated by so many in the community is so
very much appreciated.

It is necessary, though, to set a few matters straight to make sure all
understand what actually took place and why things got the way they did.

// Background //
On a personal note, I’ve suffered from clinical depression, diagnosed and
medicated since ‘03. During that time I have had 5 serious mental (nervous)
breakdowns. Only one of these had been work-related. What I suffered this
time was only a half breakdown it transpires and has been ‘easier’ to
recover from. My wife, Judith, has been a major contributing factor in this.

The project is one that if been working on since April ‘17 on and off, a
few weeks at a time. It’s for a tv production company that produces game
shows in the UK who required a working prototype of a game for development,
testing, production and pitching purposes. This is the second one I was
producing for them. The last stage of its production started around
February with final tweaks and bug fixes along with a couple of new
features. It all went well and the client had planned to set up a day to
film a working pilot episode. I continued to bug fix leading up to the day
till the 2nd of May 3am, the morning of the gig. I went to bed at that time
happy that everything was working fine.

Bear in mind that somewhere in the middle of April 2018, Adobe had also
changed their policy for oAuth which had repercussions on another client’s
software who codes in LC5.0.2 (because he prefers to ‘own’ software rather
than ‘rent’ it). I created a library for him to access Adobe Sign but
failed from 5.0.2 because it only uses TLS1.0 and Adobe require TLS1.1 or
1.2. I was able to fix this with a mini hack of LC5.0.2.

// The Incident //
It turns out, however, that at 00:01 PDT (8am BST I think) of May 2nd
Google changed something key to the App. Due to various security risks,
Google had decided to deprecate the use of webviews for authenticating
oAuth entry. Our app used GoogleSheets as a simple way to enable the client
to update key features of the app live, specifically, questions, categories
and running orders. The App, which would run live and display on the
projected screen in front of the contestants, would call on the GSheet with
updated data through the demo.

>From between 8am and 10am UK time when I eventually woke up, the client had
evidently been desperately texting, emailing and trying to call me to let
me know the App wasn’t working anymore. It had been working at first then
suddenly wasn’t. They would only get a screen that said it could no longer
authenticate entry and login to Google services. This, of course, baffled
me as it had all been working fine up to just 7hrs before.

As the desktop version appeared not to be affected (as I had found after a
lot of testing that morning) so I used it to create an up to date database
internally in the app and upload as an enterprise app for them to install.
This gave them the ability to at least start using it although without the
ability to update and change the order of events dynamically using the
Google Sheets method. This was a key part of making it work.

// The Repercussions //
Once I got to the studio it was evident how much this had affected
production. It had all become very clunky with little to no fluidity or
slickness we would have had if it were working properly. The
director/producer was understandably perplexed and irritated. It now meant
that every time an answer was given and a step through the game occurred we
had to rebuild the application with manually updated data and get each
device to download the latest version of the app. The game is usually very
fast paced but this had brought it to a near standstill taking all of the
excitement out of it.

The longer it went on the worse and worse I felt. I had little to no time
to come up with an alternative solution and just needed it fixed. But with
Monte 12hrs away and LiveCode £600-£1000 away with only the likely response
of “Nothing we can do till Monte wakes up”, I knew the likelihood of a fix
was 100% not going to come.

To give an idea of what was affected, an hours show like this would usually
take about 2-3hrs to film. This took them 6-7hrs. Considerations are the
studio time, the crew (around 15-20 all-in), equipment (lights, camera,
set/staging, etc), contestants (8-10) and a well-known presenter/comedian
(expensive). That’s a great deal of per-hour costs. All of these people
were looking at me every time it had to halt for me to do an update. The
pressure was beyond any kind of intensity I had faced in all of my time
working in live environments like this. I am usually used to it and am able
to ride it because I’m usually in control, even when things go wrong - I
don’t panic. But this was all out of my control and everyone, top down, was
dependent on me and this app.

With little to no ‘useful’ advice or help coming in, I was completely
alone. By the time Monte and Kevin had finally got in touch, it was all
over and I had cut off all communication for my own sanity. I was now in an

// The Abyss //
This has lasted not as long as other occasions thanks to family. I had
almost twice jumped in front of trains. The thing that stops me is only
fear of failure again. Fortunately, my view of myself is so belittling that
I don’t even have confidence in myself to do anything right, including
ending myself. I had a long time on my way back to think about things - and
sink deeper.

My wife in the meantime had answered the door to two police staff asking
after me. She was blissfully unaware that anything was wrong. When I got
there I had to carefully play it down and put on my mask. They can be very
quick to section people (put me into care in some mental hospital, locked
away from everyone). So, 'thanks' to whoever in the community called them
because that would have really made my and everyone's day! Some people when
they think they’re doing the best thing do absolutely the worst thing,
forgetting the authorities care even less than anyone else.

I’ve not been able to face anyone or anything. I was not happy that the
police had been called. I was not happy that my wife found out that way. I
was definitely not happy that people had tried contacting my 14yr old son
after cyber ploughing my social accounts. I was then weirded out by the
gofundme which put me into even more regression due to increased
embarrassment. I’ve spent 4 days so far writing this and I still can’t
figure out what to do with these feelings or the donations. Even my
extended family think it’s nice that people did it but a little bit weird
it was done with one sparse facts of the situation. If it was just me I
would put it down to pride but the fact others feel the same makes me

// Lessons Learned //
I’ve still not heard from or spoken to the client just yet. They will be
unaware of the breakdown I’ve had and I’m not sure, professionally, if I
should tell them. I certainly don’t feel right putting in my invoice for
the 3-4 months work for this stage of the app as it didn’t work when they
actually needed it. That’s the second time a LiveCode app has put me in
this position. I would have been employed to provide the software for the
tv show and others if it all gone as it should but that bridge is now ashes
in the Atlantic. Thanks, LC/Google!

Now I (again!) have to re-evaluate where I go from here. Certainly, my
trust in third-party add-ons has gone and I will never again rely on them.
I would rather rewrite my own than feel I could assume that they had
written it correctly. Despite being distributed as part of LC, mergext is
not open source so can’t be repaired by any of us. LC 9 is a shambles and
still not ready for release - in its current state it’s basically still in
beta. They seem unprepared to fix any of the project browser stuff (which
we can’t fix easily because it’s part of the ide and they won’t accept ide
amendments due to the fact it can’t be checked and compared using
GitHub!!!) and instead keep adding more features elsewhere, themselves
which don’t seem to be anywhere near completion (HTML, native java/objc,
etc). And what have they done to the script editor, the MAIN part of LC we
use - broken!! Little to no decent documentation or tutorials for any of
these features. And a doc ide that makes it impossible to find the guidance
you need.

// LiveCode And/Or Bust //
To add insult to the injury, I’d have to keep paying a subscription for
something that struggles to work consistently. I want software I can trust.
All software has little bugs (unexpected features) but I always come away
from using LC feeling like it’s riddled with them, glaring ones that make
it seemingly evident they don’t use the software themselves or else they
would notice them - or they’re purposely ignoring them. I’ve still got bugs
from years ago that haven’t been touched so it doesn’t inspire confidence
to report yet more to them.

For the amount I’ve invested in LC (money, learning, voluntary bug fixing),
I don’t feel they’ve paid back in kind. Their decision to have the next
conf over in the far west shows their loyalty to, again, only a small part
of the community, the rich and those already in America. Global?!?

It’s so frustrating because LC is by far and away the easiest way of
writing code for all platforms. But it just keeps letting me down in so
many ways. Someone has just asked me to build a prototype wireframe for a
game that runs on both iOS and Roid but I’m just not sure I can put myself
through all the heartache, what with the geometry manager being such a mess
and the 3rd party one (again) consistently let me down losing links or
simply not working. I’d have to write my own cross-platform/format
‘responsive’ library to make sure it could work on ANY device. It’s all a
steaming pile of BS! I don’t want to have to go back to coding in Java and
objc/swift again.

Looking at the latest LC8 release, the ‘fix’ Monte did for mergGoogle
hasn’t been added in. It’s hardly working let alone ‘Stable’ then, is it!!

Rock <=> Hard-Place

// Expectations //

I’m clearly still not ready for the real-world just yet. I come away from
‘getting this off my chest’ feeling worse than I did when I started it a
few days back. I’m not expecting miracles or any grand gesture from LC. I’m
not expecting my health to get any better (being already on the highest
meds they’re willing to put me on - legally). I’m not expecting to get paid
for my work or to get any future work from either this client or agency.
I’m not expecting any kind of respect from my family, friends or this
community based on my failure to manage my own life, health or business. I
fully expect to continue failing with no control over being able to get
back up from it and to continue being walked over by all those above me as
I have been to date.

I’m also fully expecting to be forgotten. I’m sure many of you already had,
the rest of you will, given a month or so. Eventually one day even my
friends and family will. That is just the way of life. So none of this,
none of what I’ve said, nothing I do will be of any consequence in the long
run. The majority of you I suspect will have given up reading by paragraph
three - if you even got that far. I expect I’ll see you all carry on as you
were and LC to continue as they have.



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